Saturday, August 3, 2013

Ten Things of Thankful: First Week of School Edition

Ten Things of Thankful

So I have a confession…hold on because that always means something big. OK, this is not really a huge confession, but I am more and more convicted…and this is just me, so if you don’t feel that way it is ok…it’s just my conviction and my resulting confession. 

Ready? Oh the build up...

The first year when both my boys were in public school full-time, I had a party. I had a “Back to School” party with my girlfriends who were in the same boat.

It was a “hurrah we are kid-free for several hours every day!” party. 

That makes me a little bit sick to my stomach as I think about that now. I didn’t appreciate them for who they were and were becoming. And I missed the fact that they would quickly (oh, so quickly) grow and change and become young men. 


And I actually CELEBRATED it.

Ugh. That feels so ugly. And it was ugly.

And I confess it all to you now.

But now I try to be thankful for all parts of them.

Try is the operative word. I am still human.

And now that I have all that ugliness out there for all the world to read, I now give you this week’s list. I hope you find it less distasteful than the confession I just shared.

1.  I am thankful that school FINALLY started and we survived the first week together…the first one in which I have been home full-time with them; just in case you are joining me for the first time, or you’ve never heard me mention it, I worked part-time for the past five years, so the boys went to work with me and we did school there. I worked at a preschool (I was the assistant director) and since I was not assigned to a classroom, my schedule was somewhat flexible. But because of that, it made this week feel strange and new and exciting. I loved it but we still have some bugs to work out…any teacher would probably say the same thing.

2.  I am thankful that we are finally doing some music appreciation this year…and though our curriculum is classical in its basis, we are doing the history of Rock & Roll. No judging. We began with music of the 1920’s. We discussed the roots of the music and then each week we will listen to three different artists; this week was Al Jolson, Bix Beiderbecke, and Hoagy Carmichael. I know you’re jealous.

And just in case you aren’t familiar, here’s a little bit of Hoagy for your listening enjoyment (NOT a 1920’s recording but still worth a listen):

3.  I am again thankful for Spotify…otherwise there is no way I could have feasibly on our restricted budget, introduced and exposed the PBA to such a wide range of music. You really should check out Spotify if you have not already…and no, I am not receiving any monies for my endorsement. But, Spotify, if your execs are reading this, I promise to cash any check you might send me for the advertisement.

4.  I am thankful for the “Happy First Day of School!” yellow cake with chocolate icing we enjoyed on Monday evening. Because sugar (chocolate specifically but sugar in general) makes everything better. Don’t judge.

5.  I am thankful that I can leave fun notes such as these in the fridge. And no worries…this one was just on a container of grapes, which I purchased the week before at the grocery but I had to ensure that we had a couple for our experiment. But I don’t believe there’s any harm whatever in giving people pause before they crack open a container and begin munching away.

6.  I am thankful (and this is almost parroting a list item from last week I believe it was) that I can leave them while I run an errand…and they will actually complete some school work while I am gone. No more waiting until they are finished with everything (or at the very least at a “good place to stop”) so I can go to the store and such. I know it seems silly but the fact that they can get etymology and science finished in the time that I run to Aldi and back…that is HUGE for our schedule.

7.  I am thankful that a BOOK finally spoke to my 10yo. For ever he’s been the one that though he can read and comprehend books way above grade-level (sorry…proud mama moment), he does not ENJOY reading. He’s not ENGAGED with a book. And much to my delight (as well as my shock/surprise/astonishment), he has become somewhat (and I say somewhat because only time will tell how this will truly play out) enraptured with “The Diary of Ann Frank”. I didn’t actually have high hopes for the book…I thought they would tolerate the book, at the very least…it being about a girl and all. But he is really enjoying it…well, as much as you can “enjoy” that particular book. But he’ll read a couple pages and then ON HIS OWN come to me to tell me about what he’s read. Oh joy, oh rapture. Even if this interest doesn’t continue, at least I saw a glimpse of the possibilities!

8.  I am thankful that I FINALLY got the PBA set up with their own blogs. I have been wanting to accomplish this tiny thing for the past year and finally, this week, have made it happen. Now I am certain that you will all be most disappointed to hear this bit of news but I am making their blogs UBER private. They are using them as their journaling and I want them to feel free to put whatever they want without fear of someone else reading them (well, except for me, and even then they will have the option to ask me not to read some of them. And they can mention others by name instead of having to be surreptitious and use nicknames or initials. I am certain we will get to that point where they can speak in code for a bit, but we ar enot there yet.  I want the focus to be on the writing...not the "hiding true identities" bit. Anyway…all that rambling to say, they have their own blogs…which they can design, post videos and pictures to, and generally have their own total artistic license out in full force. They are almost as excited as their mama.

9.  I am thankful that we can take half a day (yes, sometimes) on math and it is OK…because in the end, they GET IT without being forced to nod and say “yes I get it” only to be pushed along and make matters worse in the future.

10.  I am thankful for the work I get to do later today (playing with flowers for a wedding. I didn’t get to do the design work...maybe someday I will have the opportunity to try my hand at that again…but I don't think the timing isn’t right for it now)…and also for the money I will bring home. While at this point we haven’t really missed the income I used to bring in (God is so good to provide for us!), an opportunity to feel like I am contributing financially (and some time with other adults...I love being with the boys and being their teacher and mama all rolled into one...but sometimes a little break is good for everyone involved) are always welcomed and appreciated! So for this first week of school I get to experience both and I am thankful!

What are you thankful for?


  1. This is simply a fabulous list. So detailed and so honest.

    Don't beat yourself up for your former attitudes - we can only try to make the best of any given situation as it happens. It is with distance and hindsight that we see where we could have done better, and in doing, make changes to our attitudes in the now, for the future.

    Rock'n'Roll history sounds AWESOME! I wish I could join in, because I adore the stuff but know little of the 'academics' around it. What a cool curriculum you teach.

    With cake. Nuff said!

    Glad you're getting to do some 'grown up' stuff for a while - sounds like it should provide a welcome moment of 'self'ness in your week :) Enjoy it.

  2. While I do send the kids to school, I most certainly do not celebrate the first day. Tears are more normal for me.
    I'm sure it is quite odd this year, with no preschool AND leaving them home to go to Aldi alone. Quite a big year for you!

    My kids start next week, but I doubt I'll be writing an entire list of thankful for it. Kinda like my start of soccer thankful list went this week.

  3. That cake looks yummy... see now I want cake... *off to the kitchen I go*

    Also I completely understand the back to school party, I sometimes celebrate my hubby going back to work, if only because it means I get my days off to myself again... lol

  4. just out of curiosity, when did Summer become 1 month long?
    We have always had 'only dogs', but they would find interest in the start of the school year (the bus showing up at 7 and then at 8 am).


    music history totally great subject matter

  5. hey Christine!! maybe the kids can visit at 'the coop' what with the opera you are featuring this week!


  6. WHile I applaud your appreciation of Mr. Carmichael and yellow cake with chocolate starts in August in the Midwest? Im shocked! Not really ...but I am mildly flummoxed....

  7. What a great list! I, like you, used to celebrate school starting and then really dread the start of summer. Now that my kids are older and becoming more independent, I kind of take each in stride. Truly, there are good and bad (pros & cons) to school year and summer. Don't beat yourself up--it was a different season of your life then and that is how you felt then. I have a whole post I have planned to write about admitting that I didn't enjoy mommy-hood in the early years. That's not to say that I didn't love my kids, but it is a hard thing to admit because somehow as moms we feel judged. We feel like by admitting it, it must mean are bad moms or we don't love our kids. I can say now though, I love this stage (my kids are 16, 13 and 10). eh, I think I am rambling now without making too much I'll sign off. Was great reading your post and I will add you to my "follow" list. :)

  8. Zoe...well, the public schools have gone to an adjusted calendar which gives them two weeks off in October, two in December, and two in March/April...and we just figured we'd join the bandwagon in our homeschool...but maybe not taking two weeks in October, but taking three in December.

  9. Kari...thanks for following me! I appreciate your willingness to admit a little bit of "ugly" too..because it does feel a little bit that way. Like you said, it almost feels like I think I'm a mean mom or that I don't love my kids, when actually it's because I love my kids and I realize I'm a better mama when I do have some time without them. I appreciate the encouragement. :) I look forward to following you as well!

  10. This was a great list and your love and dedication for your kids shines through. I don't see your celebration of school starting as anything that horrible. It is a normal parent reaction to feel a bit of relief that they will have more time to accomplish things they need and want to do as well. That doesn't mean you don't miss them, and don't love them enough. It is true that they grow up too fast, and if I had it to do over again I would have spend more time together and less time worrying about dust, etc. I am amazed and delighted that both my kids turned out awesome despite my mistakes along the way. We all make them, kids are super resilient if they know they feels safe and loved! Yay for a son developing an appreciation for reading! My daughter and I are avid readers, my son has excellent reading and writing skills, but doesn't have the passion for it that I do. To each their own, he has a gentle, caring heart, and far more patience than I do, those are far more important traits for life!

  11. That is a delicious looking cake!!! I find it fantastic that your 10 year old son is reading 'The Diaries of Anne Frank'. My 7 year old loves reading and she actually finished Charlotte's Web by herself and I was proud. My 11 year old is a wonderful reader, but alas, she has other things she'd rather be doing. Wonderful list!!

  12. Only one of my kids loves to read like I do. She's my little bookworm!
    Oh, that cake looks SO good.

  13. You have a beautiful list. And though I don't have kiddos, I can say that "celebrating" when your boys were in school is actually a sign of a good momma: you worked your tail off to mold them into upright young men and all moms need a moment to celebrate their accomplishments - you're a wonderful, accomplished momma! Kudos to you. :)
    Have fun and enjoy the upcoming year. I'm not sure where in the world you are, but you started school already? Short summer! :)

  14. I love the flexibility of homeschooling! It sounds like you have a great year planned.

  15. I feel guilty admitting it now after reading your intro but I'm really looking forward to my son's school starting again in September! Yikes.

  16. (Kristi - never feel guilty - each family *has* to do what works for them. All paths are valid and acceptable as long as the kids are loved and looked after. You do a FABULOUS job of being a wonderful Mom to Tucker.)

  17. @Kristi: I totally agree with Lizzi...and that's why I put in my disclaimer that this was just me and I was truly not trying to project anything on to anyone else. Wanting your child to go to school does NOT mean that you are in any way a bad mom or should feel guilt in any way. I was simply expressing my feelings and how they had changed over time. Your feelings are just as valid as mine and your canonly belong to you, just as mine can only belong to me. No judging here. :)

  18. I don't look forward to the first day of school; it makes me a little sad (yes, Pollyanna gets sad) that another year is going by so quickly. But we do celebrate the day with homemade chocolate chip cookies when they get home, and we talk about everything that happened.

    My son has always been a voracious reader; my daughter, while able to read and comprehend much above grade level, just doesn't find the satisfaction of a good book read. (Not that she doesn't read at all; she does, just not nearly as much, nor as often, and tends to read the same books over and over rather than trying new ones).

    I am going to start labeling things in the fridge that I want to save for myself with "don't eat" labels....

  19. I just remembered something. My great aunt used to make something called a Hoagie Carmichael Cake. I don't remember anything else about it, but it seemed appropriate to mention it....

  20. Thanks Dyanne for the my Googling of it (because that's how I research) I didn't find anything...if you think of any clues to what might be in it, please be sure to pass them along. Thanks! I would love to see what a Hoagy Charmichael Cake is!